Welcome to the ao tawhiti music website!

Please use the drop-down menus to navigate around this site. You can find sheet music, exercises and worksheets, video tutorials and task-sheets for all NCEA music standards.

Lesson Plans and course overviews for Matt's 45MUS Courses can be found under 'Foundation Courses'. These are designed to provide information and exercises to accompany Matt's classes, but they should also be useful for independent study as well.

why study music?

Music is an integral part of our daily lives. We are surrounded by it everyday, and our emotions are manipulated by music through movies, radio and television advertising and shopping-malls on a regular basis. In many cultures, music helps to cement the fabric of day-to-day life, and is present in almost all social activities - music is used to calm a fretful child, challenge another tribe to war, coordinate working parties, encode tribal histories, bring groups closer together and move and connect us deeply.

Studying music has been found to improve brain function, lift literacy and numeracy levels, relieve stress and depression, and help develop meaningful social networks. Learning to play a musical instrument can be extremely rewarding, and add a rich dimension to your life.

We have a proud tradition of success in music at Ao Tawhiti, having garnered numerous awards and accolades at music competitions throughout the country. Many graduates have gone on to have fulfilling careers in the music industry - as composers, performers, publishers and engineers in almost every genre of music possible - from baroque to jazz, indy rock, reggae and heavy metal.


This website will ultimately be used for booking equipment and practice rooms. Unfortunately, while we're at level 2, school music equipment won't be available for student use, and you'll need to bring your own guitars etc to school. You can use the school drumkits, but you will need to bring your own sticks. You can also play the pianos, but you MUST remember to wipe down the keyboard (with an alcoholic wipe) and wash your hands before AND after you play. Practice rooms are still available, but only for people seriously practicing, and only during class time; if you want to use a practice room, you HAVE to organise it with Matt. No more than 3 people to a practice room at any one time please!

WHERE will music take you?

Here is a snapshot of a few of our many successful music graduates...

Cameron Burnett - Drummer with the NZ Army Band.

Cameron graduated Unlimited in 2012, and went on to study Jazz at Ara. For his day job, Cameron is now a principal drummer in the New Zealand Army Band. He also plays around the world with his own bands, playing everything from heavy metal to jazz, and does session and show work on the side.

Jack Hooker - Composer and Gutarist.

Jack graduated from Unlimited in 2009, and went on to study composition at Victoria University. While completing his Masters degree, Jack composed a series of projects with the great John Psathas. Jack also has his own bands, including experimental noise-rock duo "The Shocking and Stunning"

Ingrid Schoenfeld - Pianist

Ingrid graduated in 2010, and went on to study composition and performance at Victoria University. She now teaches and performs around the country, from her base of Wellington.

George Cook - Saxophone and Bass

After leaving Unlimited in 2008, George went to study Jazz (Saxophone) at Ara. George spent some years as a Saxophonist, playing on cruise ships around the Carribbean, but has now settled in Burmingham, England where he works as a session musician, playing bass guitar.

Jen Turner - Singer/ Songwriter

Jen Graduated from Ao Tawhiti in 2014, and has gone on to study music at Parachute. Jen is a prolific and talented song writer, and has performed all over the country.

Rachel Thomas - Percussion, Vocals and Guitar

Rachel graduated in 2011, to study medicine at the University of Auckland. She also teaches music, and plays percussion with a variety of groups, including Sydney City Brass, City of Sails Brass Band, the Auckland Philharmonic and more!

Valentine Nixon - Keyboards and Vocals

Valentine graduated Unlimited in 2009, and skyrocketed into an amazing music career with her sister Clementine. Their band 'The Purple Pilgrims' tour regularly all over the world - and have followings in The United States, Europe and Asia.

Ben Woods - Ben graduated in 2011, and studied guitar (Jazz and Contemporary) at Ara. Ben has played in lots of great NZ bands in the last 8 years, but has recently launched a whirlwind career as a solo artist.

Hunter Jackson - Guitar

Hunter graduated in 2012, and went on to study guitar at Ara. It wasn't long before he was touring the world with legendary kiwi band 'Dopra' . Dopra have since broken up, and Hunter now plays and records with multiple bands around the country, from his base in Wellington.

Josie Prebble - Piano

Josie Graduated from Unlimited in 2010, and went on to study music at the University of Canterbury. She now performs and works as a full time music teacher in London, England.

Adam Hattaway - Guitar vocals, harmonica

Since leaving Unlimited in 2011, Adam has become a legendary figure in the Christchurch music scene. He has spearheaded a range of projects, and can be seen round town playing as a solo artist, or with a number of bands including The Eastern, The Soul Mates and The Haunters.

Emma Hattaway - Bass

Emma graduated from Unlimited in 2013, and went on to study Jazz at Ara. She is now widely regarded as one of New Zealand's top bass players, and plays in an astonishing variety of bands and styles. Emma has recently returned to NZ after working as a musician for Carnival Cruises in the US.

Rachel Hamilton - Singer, Songwriter

After leaving Unlimited in 2012, Rachel studied contemporary music at the NZSM in Auckland. She now gigs regularly around the country, as a solo artist, and with her band 'Bridges"

Christie Simpson - Vocals

Christie graduated from Unlimited in 2011. She went to Hagley Community College to focus on music for a year, before joining legendary Christchurch band Yumi Zooma, touring Europe and the United States.

Thomas Harris and Lorenz Weston-Salzer

Thomas and Lorenz both teach and perform music around Christchurch. One of their many projects is 'yurt party' - this video is of a recording for radio New Zealand.